This Chinese character (kanji) is read “sa-KE” (not saki). Sake is a general term for any alcoholic beverage. However, rice wine is also called sake. Therefore, to avoid misunderstanding, Japanese people will often use “nihonshu” when talking about rice wine.
Sake is a compound word: “sa” means sacred, and “ke” originally meant food, giving the original meaning of sake as “sacred food”.
The character is made up of two parts: the left part means water (or liquid), and the right part means birds (August in the Chinese zodiac). There are several schools of thought around why this Chinese character is used for sake. One explanation is that sake is a liquid made from rice harvested in August.